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Old 8th May 2013, 02:46 AM   #1
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Default Toner transfer idea--would this work?

So as soon as I finalize a layout, I'm going to attempt my first board with the toner transfer method.

I just had an idea that sounds too easy to be any good. As a sort of "poor man's silkscreen" on the top of the board (non copper side), could I print out and transfer my component package outlines and component numbers? I realize some sort of protective layer to keep it from rubbing off might be needed. Has anyone done this? I figure I could put some sort of reference dots on the board and printouts to try and line up the 2 sides. I figure it only needs to be so accurate since its not like a second copper layer or anything. Heck, I'd probably transfer this layer after I'd already drilled, and use a few component leads thru the board and paper to line it up.

The only problem I can see is being able to transfer fine enough print, but even then, I don't need electrical integrity like a copper trace transfer, just legibility.

Of course, I haven't even attempted a transfer of any kind yet, so I could be missing something fundamental.

Has anyone done this? If so, what kind of results, and what did you use to seal the image with?
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Old 8th May 2013, 04:03 AM   #2
Mihkus is offline Mihkus  Estonia
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Seal the image? i need sandpaper to get rid of the toner...
I have done this but to get the toner on the clean side...
Had to rub it all over with fine sandpaper, looks cool
But it wount come off easily.

There was some kind of spray that left thin layer of nitro on boards
I sould just soack the board in for 1/10th of a sec to get the nitro on.
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Old 8th May 2013, 04:25 AM   #3
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Ok, I didn't realize it would stick so good. Are you saying you sanded the image so it would look nicer?
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:20 PM   #4
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Molten toner also bonds to paper top surface and pulls some fibers, so it looks "whitish dirty".
Not important on the copper side, because it will be removed anyway, but not too readable , speacilly because it's not printed on white paper but on brownish or greenish PCB material.

Light sanding (I'd use lilder steel wool, sanding is too drstic unless you use , say, 600 grit wet dry paper) probably removes "dirty" and shows clean black toner.
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Old 16th June 2013, 01:29 AM   #5
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If you use regular paper, as JMFahey points out, you'll have a whitish looking transfer. I've used a black dry erase marker to go over it and wipe with a piece of paper. It makes it a bit more legible and the dye sticks to the paper fibers even after wiping.

Now, I've switched to toner transfer paper that that has a thin layer of plastic coating on one side. It transfers very cleanly both to copper and fiberglass without leaving the fibers behind.
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Old 16th June 2013, 01:49 AM   #6
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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It works great and is extremely handy!

If you use glossy inkjet medium weight "multi-purpose" paper (you might have to experiment), in a laser printer, and you slightly roughen the board surface, first, with a fine abrasive pad (or artificial steel wool), or very fine sandpaper, the toner will stick extremely well. And I always found that the paper was MUCH easier to remove from the FR4 than it was from the copper side.

I always transferred the entire component layer's artwork onto the component side of the board, even for two-sided boards. It's wonderful to have, when stuffing the components onto the board. No assembly guide needed! I always at least had each component's value or model, outline, and polarity if applicable, for the silkscreen artwork.

Last edited by gootee; 16th June 2013 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 19th June 2013, 07:06 PM   #7
K.A.B is offline K.A.B  Sweden
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When I remove the transfer from the copper I use hot water and steel wool with little soap, I found out by mistake the hot water soften the toner.

I use paper used for advertising this is shiny but very thin, it is easy to remove while it is glossy enough to transfer the toner best of all it's free and comes every week.

Anders
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Old 19th June 2013, 07:26 PM   #8
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I print the top component layers too for reference. When done, I apply a coat of resin diluted in thinner ( industrial methylated spirit ).
. That protects the layers from corrosion.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Warm regards, Som

Last edited by csom; 19th June 2013 at 07:28 PM.
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